The Pac-12 is home to some of the most rip-roarin’ college football on the planet (just follow the #Pac12AfterDark hashtag to see for yourself), and Pac-12 Network studio host, Mike Yam, is at the center of the action. He also happens to be a car guy. So we asked him about his driving playlists, his ideal road trip companions, and his rules of the road.
Q: How old were you when you first learned how to drive?
A: I had a late birthday, so I was always the youngest in my grade. It felt like Christmas morning when I was 17 and finally got my license.
Q: What was your first car, and how long did you drive it?
A: I had a white 1995 Chrysler Acclaim. I only had it a few months before the transmission blew—not my fault! It made for an interesting drive home with smoke coming out from under the hood.
Q: What’s the best road trip you’ve ever taken?
A: I don’t know if I have one that stands out, but I always loved the drives down to the beach with my cousins growing up. The laughs in the car even when sitting in traffic were always a blast.
Q: What does a typical road trip pit stop look like? Candy, chips, soda?
A: A trip to the restroom and trail mix with a bottle of water.
Q: What’s one road trip that you still dream about taking?
A: I would absolutely love to take a long trip through Italy or France while wine tasting. (I won’t be driving.)
Q: What’s your go-to road trip soundtrack? Podcast, playlist, or radio?
A: A special playlist! I keep an original iPod in my car that hasn’t been updated since 2004. I jam out to some old school stuff.
Q: Manual or automatic?
Q: How many speeding tickets have you gotten in your life?
A: Only one. I was a senior in high school and got caught on a highway where the speed limit dropped from 55 to 35. I remember coming home and waking up my mom to tell her. She wasn’t happy with the ticket, but was probably more upset I woke her up to tell her that.
Q: If you could bring one celebrity or historical figure along on a road trip, who would it be?
A: I can’t pick just one. I’d want Malcolm Gladwell for one trip. For a separate trip, I’d love to have Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Kevin Hart—sports stories and laughs!
Q: If you could change one “rule of the road,” what would it be?
A: No rubbernecking!
Q: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on a road trip?
A: A UFO hovering over the ocean...Actually I think it was just a kite.
Q: If you could have any hood ornament, what would it be?
A: I don’t roll with hood ornaments or bumper stickers. You wouldn’t throw an emoji sticker on a Salvador Dali panting—don’t ruin a work of art!
Q: What’s your favorite movie or TV car?
A: Easy! The original “Bad Boys” movie with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence was my introduction to a Porsche 911. I LOVE that car.
Q: Are you more of a speed demon or a Sunday driver?
A: If I’m late for something, I’m definitely a speed demon, but normally I’m a Sunday driver. I do love being behind the wheel with beautiful scenery to keep me entertained.
Q: What’s your favorite car/driving song?
A: Too many to list, but in no particular order: Dave Matthews “Jimi Thing”, Mark Morrison “Return of the Mack”, anything by Biggie or Donavon Frankenreiter. It all depends on the mood.
Q: What’s your most unusual driving habit?
A: I have radio ADD. I’m constantly changing the channels in the car.
Q: Would you rather fix up an old beater or drive a new car straight off the lot?
A: No question—give me the new wheels.
Q: What’s your dream car?
A: 911 Carrera or Aston Martin Vanquish.